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 Stagkit squinted upwards toward the sun. It beat down mercilessly. He flicked a bead of water off his paws. There was no other cat around. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He attempted one more time to catch the fish.

 He hooked his tiny claws on a large one just as it sailed by. He managed to drag it out of the water over the course of a few minutes, thoroughly slathering it in mud. It flapped helplessly. What am I supposed to do now? The fish’s only response was to flounder some more and splash dark and dirty beads of water into his face.

 He grabbed it and started to drag it some more, which was rather exhausting. It still wasn’t entirely out of the water, and once it was, it squirmed wildly, but to no avail- all it did was move ever closer to the looming beech trees opposite the river.

 I’ll make everyone so happy, and then they’ll see how awesome I am and make me an apprentice even sooner. Happy with this revelation, he started pulling the fish again, and realized with dismay how dirty and huge it is.

 He started to drag it again, squirming out of the mud onto the grass, which was much better. It was still so heavy. After somehow managing to drag it over Sunningrocks, he was panting.

 He got it about two thirds of the way back to camp after numerous stops to pull various parts of it out from under the stray roots on the forest floor before he ran into another problem.

 It smelled absolutely terrible. Musky and gross, and like dirty water. Also, like leaf mulch, considering he’d dragged it through the forest almost half the day. He shook his head. He’d get it back to Runeclan, and they would all be so proud because he managed to go out and catch a fish bigger than himself.

 So, he continued, trying not to gag at the odor. His paws ached, and the pads were scraped and cut, but Stagkit pushed on. And then he started to scent his Clan. This meant he was close if he could pick out individual cats over the stench of the giant fish.

 Pushing himself faster, he stumbled through the wall of brambles, pridefully lifting his fish. Cats looked at him and staggered back. Why? Aren’t they proud of me?

 He saw his mother in the middle of the crowd. “Mama! Look what I caught!” he boasted. Cats were still cringing away, to his confusion. Why did they look so disgusted? He had caught the biggest fish ever!

 “What’s that smell?” Then Stagkit became aware of the horrible musk again. “Oh.” He looked up proudly at his mother. “What is that thing?” she whispered, cringing. He looked back- it didn’t look like much of a fish now. It was covered in leaf mulch, twigs, and mud.

 He sighed. “It’s a fish!” he said, hoping for a bit of praise. “It was a fish.” his mother muttered darkly. “But I still caught it!” he exclaimed. “I caught it and dragged it back.”

 His mother raised an eyebrow. “Where’d you catch it?”

 “By Sunningrocks.” he said. “You’re not supposed to be out of camp and you went all the way down to Sunningrocks by yourself? For a whole day!”

 Snowstar came up, seeming perfectly comfortable with the odor. “Err- Stagkit- let’s have a- err- talk, shall we?”

 Stagkit was incredulous. The leader of the clan wanted to talk with him? He nodded and started to pad after the nimble white tom.

 They ducked under a curtain of moss. A burly tabby sat up, ears pricked. “You may go, Heronwing.” The leader said calmly. “But I’m supposed to protect you!” the tabby protested, ear flattened. “Heronwing, please go.” “But what if he tries to attack you?” After a brief pause, Snowstar muttered with annoyance. “It’s a kit.”

 The tom stood up with a sigh. “I suppose… But don’t say I didn’t warn you…”

 As soon as the tom had left, Snowstar gave an amused snort. “Now, Stagkit, I see you left to catch a fish. And you caught that fish at Sunningrocks. Correct?” Stagkit nodded. “And was the part of the river you caught it at close to the bank?” He nodded again. “Good. You may go.”

 Stagkit stumbled out. Snowstar isn’t going to punish me? Or tie me to a tree for a day? Or not let me eat for a week? Or-

 “Stagkit?” His mother interrupted his musings. “Y-yes?” “As a punishment you’re going to stay inside the nursery until the half-moon.” “Oh.” He sighed. Darn. Now, what about I catch that fox that the queens have been talking about? …Or fight the badger Snowstar sent a battle patrol to kill?


 I'm sorry if chunks like thoughts should've been italicized, I tried to fix them. I pasted it from Word so the italics didn't copy into the text box.

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